Thomas S. Saras
Leila Monteiro Lins
Mohammed Bagher Samimi
Sandie De Freitas
Kathy L. L. Li
Hon. Joe Volpe
Hon. Basilio Jordano
Gezahegn Mekonnen Demissie
Hai Tien Lin
Muhacumad Naeem Ul Islam
Agenda of the day:
- Welcome Remarks by the chair.
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- President’s Report/Discussions
- Presentation by Hon. Monte McNaughton Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development
- New Members/New Business
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
Mohammed Tajdolati chaired the virtual monthly meeting and declared the meeting open. Ricky Castellvi moved a motion to approve the agenda. Helen Wang seconded it. The motion was carried.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Jonathan Annobil moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting and Roberto Hausman seconded it. Minutes of the previous monthly meeting were approved unanimously.
- Thomas Saras welcomed everyone to the online monthly meeting of July 12, 2021. During this difficult time the President reflected on the measures taken by NEPMCC to help its fellow members through various projects such as internship, LJI and others. He appreciated the hard work from everyone including Maria Saras- Voutsinas, Hon. Joe Volpe, Dr. Tajdolati and all other members who worked extremely hard during the exceedingly difficult year 2020 as a committee on various projects of NEPMCC. Although 2020 was a tough year for many, but NEPMCC had successfully implemented various projects for the benefit of its members. He hoped 2021 will be a better year for all. He urged everyone to follow public health guidelines and maintain physical distancing. He informed that LJI program has been approved for another three terms.
- President Thomas Saras thanked all the members who generously donated to NEPMCC. He mentioned Kathy Lin, Kathy Gerasklis, Susana Donan, Ernesto Donan, Athanasios Kourtesis, the Hon. Basilio Jordano, and all others who generously donated to NEPMCC
- Thomas Saras urged the members to participate in different projects that are available. If there is lack of adequate participation, the funds would go back to its source and in future the allocations of such funds could be limited.
- Members who wish to participate in projects undertaken by NEPMCC (other than the LJI) must be in good standing and abide by all the codes governing the council. They should also pay all membership dues.
- President Thomas Saras had earlier made a written submission on behalf of NEPMCC to the House of Commons Standing Committee on finance for the pre-budget consultations in advance of the upcoming budgets. The details of which were shared via email with all members before this monthly meeting in December 2020. The submission was made in the best interests of the ethnic media sector in Canada.
- President Thomas Saras informed both LJI and internship program are progressing well. Although the internship program did not have many participants as expected. The internship program and LJI would invite new applications in 2021.
- The President is in touch with Federal Government and Provincial Government for funding members of NEPMCC during the ongoing Pandemic. President is scheduled to meet with representatives of both Federal and Provincial Government to request more funds for the struggling ethnic media sector and the industry.
- The President spoke about the ongoing student internship program in 2021 in cooperation with the schools of journalism. Internship will be from 3 – 6 months. The program will cover $15 per hour per student for the maximum 18 hours per week and the rest must be covered by the respective organizations. Maria Saras-Voutsinas is in touch with student intern coordinator from Seneca College. The program had started from January 2019. Any member interested in hiring students for their publications should contact Executive Director Maria Saras-Voutsinas, as it is on first come first serve basis due to funds approved by the Government on this project. This is a win- win situation as it will benefit the students as they will gain from the valuable experience as well as the members as they will get additional help in a very subsidized rate to run their publications. The program is in its new phase in 2021. Only those members, who have not received funds through the program earlier are eligible to apply this year and should contact Executive Director Maria Saras –Voutsinas, expressing their interests in hiring a student intern for their media outlets. Members eligible to apply will be given preference on a first come serve basis. Members were informed in the previous meetings that to qualify of funding for internship program- they should be an active publication.
- The internship program since had received an overwhelming response and members who could not participate last year may be given another chance in the next phase provided, they meet the requirements of this program. Members hiring interns now can only be eligible for part time as the students also continue their studies. The part time interns will be working with the publications for 18 hours per week X $ 15.00 dollars per hour, which is making $ 270.00 dollars per student per week X 12 weeks = 3,240.00 for the period of January the 1st to March 31, 2020. As of April 1st, 2020, the new financial year starts, and new applications will be accepted by the NEPMCC. The current time of Applications will expire September 30, 2020.
- President Thomas Saras continued to educate members on various projects undertaken by NEPMCC and especially on the LJI. President Thomas Saras informed about the local initiative program The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada. Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire an unemployed journalist or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. The content produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed. He mentioned under this program a publisher can hire qualified journalist or a journalistic student in the final year and get up to a maximum of $30,000 per year. He mentioned that the program has been very successful and will close from accepting new applications on September 30, 2021, for the present cycle. He hoped that the program will continue to receive funds in future. The program also pays for mailing expenses of the copies of the publication to remote communities and provides special prepaid Canada Post mailing boxes, to members participating in the program.
- President Thomas Saras informed the members of the various projects undertaken by NEPMCC and how members could benefit from federal programs for ethnic media. He mentioned about the tax credit by employing full time or part time journalists or reporters in the Newsroom.
- The president also encouraged all the members to apply for an ID or Media Pass of the organization. There are so many benefits; the president said that it is to one’s advantage to have it.
Presentation by Hon. Monte McNaughton Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development
Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, and Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, is a politician, community leader and former small business owner from southwestern Ontario. He is currently serving his third consecutive term as a Member of Provincial Parliament.
He began his speech by mentioning “A good job is the foundation of a strong family” “Strong families build strong communities”.
Hon. Minister said, “Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is a key step in addressing the province’s skilled labour shortage…This program helps grow our booming technology sector, staff the skilled construction trades, and meet regional needs. The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is the province’s economic immigration program. It works in partnership with the Government of Canada through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The OINP recognizes and nominates people for permanent residence who have the skills and experience the Ontario economy needs, and the Government of Canada makes the final decision to approve applications for permanent residence.
Manan Gupta, Sean Pickford, Elman, Mila Garcia, Neel Nanda and others asked the Honourable Minister asked questions on wide variety of topics and issues related to the Province of Ontario. The Honourable minister categorically answered all questions and encouraged all to know various programs that the Government of Ontario is implementing for its communities to make Ontario a stronger economy and healthier place to live in.
Maria Saras Voutsinans mentioned a top up of 15% to Aid to Publishers under Special measures for Journalism. She also mentioned that there will be top up for LJI. She said more information will follow in the upcoming weeks. Many members appreciated the office of the President of NEPMCC for submitting an incredibly detailed recommendation to the standing committee on Finance and hoped that the recommendations would be implemented. Members also thanked Executive Director Maria Saras- Voutsinas for providing consistent and valuable help tireless for members with their issues during the pandemic year. Maria Saras- Voutsinas informed members that there was meeting with Premier Doug Ford. The Ontario Government has dedicated $10 million in advertising for 30 languages for ethnic media.
Adjournment: Roberto Hausman moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Pooyan Tabatabaei seconded it. The motion was carried. The Chair Dr. Tajdolati adjourned the meeting at 8.30 pm. The next monthly meeting would take place on Monday August 09, 2021, through Zoom
The above notes from the meeting of May 10, 2021 prepared by the Secretary General and Senior VP of the NEPMCC Neel Nanda.